PH value in the stomach

Definition – What is the normal pH value in the stomach?

The stomach contains the so-called gastric juice, a clear, acidic liquid. It contains diluted hydrochloric acid in large quantities. The pH-value of the gastric juice is between 1.0 and 1.5 on an empty stomach, i.e. without food. When the stomach is filled with chyme, the pH-value in the stomach increases to values between 2 and 4. On an empty stomach or filled with food, the pH-value in the stomach remains in the acidic range.

What is the pH value of gastric acid?

Gastric acid is an aqueous solution containing hydrochloric acid. The acid is necessary to break down the food pulp in the stomach so that it can be further processed in the intestine. The term gastric juice describes the complete mixture that contains all enzymes, so-called mucins, bicarbonate, hydrochloric acid, water, etc., i.e. all substances that are produced in the stomach.

Since gastric juice consists to a large extent of gastric acid and water, the terms gastric juice and gastric acid are usually used synonymously. Because of the high hydrochloric acid content, the pH value of gastric acid in the acidic range is 1 to 1.5. When you eat and your stomach fills with chyme, the pH value rises to values between 2 and 4.

The pH value of gastric acid usually always remains in the acidic range. If the stomach glands produce too much or too little gastric acid, the pH value in the stomach can change. The balance between decomposition of food and protection of the cells of the stomach wall can change. Symptoms of hyperacidity can occur such as inflammation of the mucous membrane of the stomach (gastritis), ulcers or reflux (heartburn). A lack of gastric acid can cause digestive disorders or frequent infections.

What increases the pH value?

A lack of stomach acid can have various reasons. If the gastric acid in the stomach decreases, the pH value increases, so the naturally acidic pH value becomes less acidic. Wrong/too frequent intake of gastric acid inhibiting drugs obviously leads to a decrease of the acid in the stomach and thus to an increased pH value.

Examples are the proton pump inhibitors omeprazole and pantoprazole. For optimum effect, the drugs must be taken in accordance with the dose recommended by the doctor. A chronic inflammation of the stomach mucous membrane (gastritis) of type A can also lead to an increase in pH.

The acid formation in the stomach decreases strongly. In addition, anemia caused by a vitamin B12 deficiency can also have a negative effect on the formation of gastric acid. This is known as pernicious anemia.

This can also be caused by an inflammation of the mucous membrane of the stomach. The disease is often based on an autoimmune disease, which destroys the cells in the stomach that form stomach acid. Since this results in less gastric acid being produced, the pH value in the stomach increases.